Monday, September 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Garden mosaics

Can't work in the garden these days, but for Barbie Henig, that's no matter. She does her mosaics for the garden and other outdoor uses year-round. This is the number '7' for her street address. She collects beach glass, old dishes and pottery for her creations, smashing or cutting them into smaller pieces, attaching them to a surface - rock, tile, BOWLING BALL, terra cotta pot - with adhesive and filling in the spaces with grout. Her designs are sometimes spontaneous, more often thought or sketched out ahead of time and then put into place. Barbie has a fulltime job in Center City but mosaics fill the rest of her "spaces" and time. She teaches at Tyler Arboretum and other places around the region, and she's the subject of a story I'm working on now for later this month. Visiting her and seeing firsthand her excitement for recasting old objects into beautiful objets was a great way to welcome in a new year on the job.

Garden mosaics

Rosa 'All Ablaze' blazes cherry red in Burke Brothers' Tuscany exhibit, accenting classic Italian elements with bright flowers. (Ron Tarver / Staff photographer)
Rosa 'All Ablaze' blazes cherry red in Burke Brothers' Tuscany exhibit, accenting classic Italian elements with bright flowers. (Ron Tarver / Staff photographer)

Can't work in the garden these days, but for Barbie Henig, that's no matter. She does her mosaics for the garden and other outdoor uses year-round. This is the number '7' for her street address. She collects beach glass, old dishes and pottery for her creations, smashing or cutting them into smaller pieces, attaching them to a surface - rock, tile, BOWLING BALL, terra cotta pot - with adhesive and filling in the spaces with grout. Her designs are sometimes spontaneous, more often thought or sketched out ahead of time and then put into place. Barbie has a fulltime job in Center City but mosaics fill the rest of her "spaces" and time. She teaches at Tyler Arboretum and other places around the region, and she's the subject of a story I'm working on now for later this month. Visiting her and seeing firsthand her excitement for recasting old objects into beautiful objets was a great way to welcome in a new year on the job.

About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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